Former top cop jailed for harassment


A former high ranking and highly decorated police chief has been jailed for 12 months for a campaign of harassment against two women.

Former Detective Chief Superintendant Colin Andrews, 58, showed no emotion as he was led from the dock at Manchester Crown Court.

Andrews, who led a series of high profile investigations for Humberside Police, was found guilty at a trial of aggravated stalking, witness intimidation, common assault and harassment.

The judge, Mrs Justice Patterson, told Andrews: “You thought that not only you were above the law but you could manipulate the course of justice to your own ends.”

She said his actions to try and stop one woman’s attempts to report his behaviour were a deliberate attempt to intimidate her “that was as arrogant as it was ill-judged”.

The judge said Andrews’s behaviour had affected both women’s lives. Referring to one, she said: “The quality of her life has been seriously affected by your bullying and inappropriate conduct.”

Considering the impact on the other woman, the judge said: “She feels she will always be watching over her shoulder and living in fear.”

Andrews, of Brough, East Yorkshire, was found guilty of the offences by a jury in January. But he was cleared of charges of rape, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and a further charge of common assault.

The assault he was sentenced for today happened when a passer-by, Owen Phillips, tried to intervene in an altercation in the street between Andrews and one of the women, who cannot be named.

The trial heard that Andrews slapped Mr Phillips in the face as he was making a 999 call and called him an “unemployed knob”, despite the fact he was on his way to work.

Mr Phillips, who was praised as a “good Samaritan” by the judge today, managed to make the emergency call and the jury heard the defendant was ranting, calling the woman a “lesbian” and a “slag”.

The jury heard Andrews’s behaviour towards the first woman spanned a year between August 2012 and August 2013 and included bombarding her with hundreds of text messages.

The judge said: “No one could doubt the serious impact of your behaviour on her.”

She told Andrews his behaviour had nearly driven the woman to a breakdown as he refused her pleas to leave her alone, requests repeated by friends and colleagues.

The judge said Andrews also bombarded the other woman with unwanted messages – including 37 calls in one day and 111 text messages. She rejected Andrews’s claims that he was “smothering her with attention”.

Andrews stood in the dock to listen to the judge’s final remarks dressed in a light grey suit, white shirt and grey tie.

The judge told him he had made a success of his life after a very difficult start, being brought up in an orphanage.

She said that after his retirement as a high ranking police officer he had secured a high-level civilian role with Humberside Police as a crime and justice manager.

The judge said: “At the moment of your life you should have been enjoying the fruits of your endeavours, all of these endeavours you, and you alone, have thrown away.”

Andrews was in charge of a number of high profile investigations for Humberside Police in a 36-year career, including the inquiry into the mysterious death of Army cadet Stephen Hilder in a parachuting incident in 2003.

He also led the long-running investigation into the murder of Keith Slater who was stabbed to death in Hessle, near Hull, in 1988.

Mitigating today, Tania Griffiths QC, defending, said: “This man has saved many lives. Not everyone can say that. He’s put his own life on the line in order to do that.”

Ms Griffiths said he was once commended for tackling an armed gunman.

“He didn’t need to do that,” the barrister said. “Why did he do it? Because he’s a brave man.”

Ms Griffiths said her client had saved lives on the Humber Bridge due to his negotiating skills.

But many women watching from the public gallery shook their heads when the barrister told the judge: “There’s givers and there’s takers in life and Mr Andrews is a giver.”

Ms Griffiths asked the judge to spare Mr Andrews jail saying there was “just no way” he would ever be before a court again in his life.

She said prison would “break him”, especially due to his police background.

Earlier, prosecutor Owen Edwards said Andrews used his high police office to intimidate the women.

Mr Edwards said Andrews “used that position to add to the distress and concern caused to both complainants by the acts of harassment and stalking.

“In both cases he was to imply and, indeed, expressly say that they would never be believed, that he had the power to prevent an effective investigation taking place and that he had knowledge that would allow him to ensure that should any complaints be made they would never be believed. ”

The prosecutor summarised impact statements from both women.

One said she had been left “emotional and tearful, particularly at work, and unable to deal with conflict”.

She said she “struggled to understand how Mr Andrews could have behaved in the way he did and continue to hold such a senior position within the police force and thereafter, and not show signs at work.”

Mr Edwards said the woman felt Andrews really did have the power he suggested he did to the extent that she wrongly believed her home was bugged.

The other woman said she believed Andrews was “motivated by a need to control and to bully” – “effectively having his way, no matter what.”

The judge imposed five year restraining orders on Andrews in respect of each of the women. But she rejected an application from Mr Edwards that the defendant should pay the £122,000 cost of the prosecution.

Andrews’s solicitor Damian Kelly issued a statement after the hearing which said: “Mr Andrews accepts the verdicts of the jury.”

It stressed the not guilty verdicts brought in by the jury and added: “In relation to the other allegations which he has been found guilty, he wishes to place on record his sincere apology to those complainants affected.

“Mr Andrews now realises, in hindsight, that his actions were inappropriate and misguided. He regrets that, despite his previously unblemished police career, he made wrong decisions.”

The former detective criticised what he said was a £1 million investigation into the rape allegation, of which he was acquitted.